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No Jitter Roll: Google CCAI for Chat, UCaaS Market Statistics
This week we share announcements around conversational AI, contact center, UCaaS subscriber growth, and secure access security edge (SASE).
Google CCAI Update: Agent Assist for Chat
In a blog post this week, Google Cloud announced Agent Assist for Chat, the latest update for its Contact Center AI (CCAI) conversational AI suite. Agent Assist for Chat is a compilation of public APIs that a company’s engineering team can use to integrate into an agent desktop, Google Cloud said. To help agents manage conversations better, Agent Assist for Chat offers two capabilities:
- Smart Reply – recommends replies agents can use to respond appropriately to customer messages; companies can tune the response recommendations to the tone and voice of their brands
- Knowledge Assist – provides articles and FAQ suggestions to agents in real-time as the conversation progresses
Agent Assist for Chat is in public preview, the company said. It costs six cents per session. Agent Assist is priced monthly based on the communication channel.
Zammo Releases No-Code Conversational AI
Startup Zammo.ai this week introduced a conversational AI platform it said allows businesses to create chatbots across channels, including IVR and phone systems, voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and text messaging, without any software coding experience.
Via its no-code platform, Zammo offers conversation modules for use cases in marketing, sales, HR, and customer service. In addition, the company said customers call pull together data analytics from across all their implementations, a critical capability for measuring and improving user interactions across all channels, as Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research and frequent No Jitter blogger, shared in a prepared statement from Zammo.
Cisco CC Adds Multi-tab Gadget, Simplified IT Management
In addition to new meeting and calling features announced for Webex this week (see related post), Cisco revealed several new features for its contact center offering, as part of its Webex Contact Center Enterprise 12.6 Release. These updates include:
- An Agent Answers feature listens in the background and provides agents with real-time suggestions and guidance to improve first-contact resolution
- A multi-tab gadget provides a single window for agents to access pieces of content, without the need of switching tabs. For example, an agent can have queue statistics, agent answers, call transcripts, and more accessible via this single gadget
- For IT admins, the release includes simplified patches and update orchestration, and provides the ability to monitor the application performance of all integrated apps via a native AppDynamics integration
In addition to these new features, Cisco increased concurrent agent support for large deployments of up to 36,000 agents.
Synergy Data Demonstrates UCaaS Adoption Surge
Synergy Research Group this week released statistics indicating that the global UCaaS subscriber growth rate increased to 41% in 2020, up from 27% in 2019 (see image below). Due to COVID-19, accelerated adoption of Microsoft and Zoom powered this increase, with their respective market shares rising by almost 10 percentage points and their subscriber bases growing from near zero to over a million (Microsoft) or close to a million (Zoom). Overall, the number of UCaaS subscribers tallied to more than 15 million, or double the number from mid-2018, Synergy said.
Microsoft 's dominance lies largely in the mid-market, while Zoom excels in large businesses, Synergy said. Meantime, while market leader RingCentral retains that position, it’s 20% market share barely budged in 2020, the firm reported. While other UCaaS leaders, namely 8x8, Mitel, and Cisco, saw double-digit subscriber growth in 2020, they each lost market share because of their market share increases fell behind overall market growth, Synergy said. Additionally, subscriber base increases for Fuze and LogMeIn aligned with the overall UCaaS market growth, Synergy added.
Networking Vendors Aryaka Acquires SASE Provider, Juniper Networks Unveils SASE Security Portal
Many enterprises are looking to bring security to the network’s edge, relying on SASE technology, which provides the ability to apply security policies to remote users and better protect internal information resources (see related No Jitter post). Toward this end, networking vendors have been busy updating their portfolios with SASE offerings.
In December, for example, Aryaka Networks unveiled SmartSecure Private Access, which uses the principles of SD-WAN and SASE in a cloud service that aims to allow users to move freely and securely between locations and apps without sacrificing network performance. Now, the company is bulking up on SASE with the acquisition of Secucloud, which offers a SASE platform engineered to connect all edges — WAN, cloud, mobile, and Internet of Things — securely together, Aryaka said. With the acquisition, announced late last month, Secucloud becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aryaka. The Secucloud technology will enable Aryaka to offer additional converged cloud network and network security offerings; new SASE products are expected to be available later this year, Aryaka added.
Separately, secure networking vendor Juniper Networks this week introduced Security Director Cloud, a cloud-based portal that allows network managers to distribute connectivity and security services to sites, users, and applications, in addition to managing their SASE migrations. In addition, Security Director Cloud will automatically apply set security policies.
Ryan Daily, No Jitter associate editor, contributed to this article.